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Thread: Ejector Pump Box with Air Admittance Valve (LONG)

  1. #1

    Default Ejector Pump Box with Air Admittance Valve (LONG)

    Hi all. Newbie here. I just bought a home with a basement utility sink below the sewer line. The original owner rigged up a rube-goldberg contraption, with a pump mounted to the bottom of a sink, and a float switch mounted IN THE SINK. It was disgusting, with a constant 1-2" of standing, dirty water in the sink at any given time. No vent, obviously.

    So, I hired a plumber to come out to fix the problem and he suggested a zoeller pump in the box with a sure-vent. Going to the roof would be a major expense.

    Anyway, the plumber cancelled on me, so I went and bought the supplies myself. First thing I see in the pump manual is that the pump can't be used with an AAV. I searched the forum here and the internet, and the definitive consensus is that a pump in the box won't work with an AAV.

    As an aside, I live in NJ, and in this state, it is impossible to get a master plumber to come to your house. What you get are the retards that work under the master plumbers licence, hence the bad advice. This is a very frustrating situation, and I've already twice had to get the board of master plumbers involved to penalize master plumbers for allowing idiots to screw up my plumbing jobs. The system is broken and this corrupt practice serves nothing more than to enrich unscrupulous master plumbers while depriving the public of having a licenced professional do the job. Hence, why I am here and asking for your help.

    So I have this pump and an AAV, and according to STUDOR, it is indeed possible to use an ejector pump with an AAV. The spec sheets for their valves state: THE VALVE MAY BE INSTALLED ON SEWER EJECTORS, IF INSTALLED ACCORDING TO ENGINEER DESIGN..

    Take a look at this diagram on page 14 of the Studor design manual:

    http://www.studor.com/DesignCriteria.pdf

    They basically have the vent coming out of the box, and then a loop back from the waste discharge to the vent again. In any case, I figured I can do no worse than what the so-called "plumber" would have given me, and certainly better than what I originally had. So, I pulled the old sink and pump out, installed a new sink/faucet and rigged up the new pump as per the design diagram. Guess what? It works. I don't know how it works, or how long it's going to work, but the pump functions. I did at least a dozen full sink-loads of water, two laundry cycles, and numerous on-off cycles of water going down the drain. On the shorter cycles, the waste pipe shutters after the pump shuts off, but I think this is the water flowing back to my check valve, which is mounted about 3ft up the vertical pipe.

    BTW: I am using a standard mechanical vent temporarily until I can find the proper studor valve. The sink drains very fast. I don't hear the mechnical vent, but after a big laundry load, I get some gurgling and the valve makes a little "hiss" for about 3 seconds after the pump shuts off. I assume this is how the box is equalizing the pressure. I would appreciate it if someone can explain the studor diagram to me on how this thing works and comment on why studor believes an AAV can work with an ejector pump, while the general consensus is against this practice. Thanks to all for reading.

    -A

  2. #2
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    It's all going to depend on whatever your local inspector says about it.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Master Brian's Avatar
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    I'd love to know the answer to this as well. The vent is all I have to run to get my system up and going and I was planning on running it up 2 floors and out the roof, which is going to be somewhat tougher than I originally thought.

    I'm of course not a plumber, but the only problem I really see with this setup is that there is nothing to prevent a sewage backup from coming back up this vent pipe and into your ejector pump. On the discharge section of pipe, there is a check valve to stop any sewage from the main line from entering the ejector pit, on the vent there isn't. I tried finding reason's as well as to why I couldn't tie my ejector vent into one of the "normal" house vents and that is what I kept coming back to.

    I had a plumber tell me that it was ok to tie it into a vent, which is why I plumbed the rest myself. I thought he isn't giving me any advice I with my limited knowledge couldn't figure out, in fact, I read his advice was wrong, so why should I pay him. I don't doubt there are some great plumbers out there that know their trade inside and out, but I don't seem to find them....until I look here for advice!!!

    One last thought....if the main sewer line backed up and was not able to flow into the sewage ejector pit, then the flow of backup is likely going to be a tub or toilet above the main drain and a likely overflow into finished living quarters. Being as the ejector pit is located in the basement, if it backs up, it would backup into the basement. In my case, the lowest point would be a backup into where I plan to install a floor drain. My design is that if the floor drain overflows and any backups would/should overflow into my sump pit where it would be directed outside. With this logic, I can't decide if it would be better or not to tie the vent to the main sewer! For health reasons, I know they would say you don't want raw sewage pumped outside and I get that. I also know code would frown on that, but I'd rather it go outside than into my living space. Afterall, no more than should ever backup would not cause any long lasting health concerns if any, unless it was common practice and Everyone was doing it.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    The answer plain and simple is the pump is an air tight container and in order for any liquid to enter the air needs to leave or it will become airbound and liquid will not enter. An AAV, Shure vent, Studor vent or whatever other name for one you manage to come up with allows only a one way flow with air entering. It will not work properly!

    Even if you manage to find someone that says it's okay it's not and will not work properly!

  5. #5

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    In my locality, no inspection is required for replacement of existing plumbing. Anyway, the original rube-goldberg sink pump would never pass code, so why should I call an inspector to look at something that's been wrong for 40 years? In this case, my new system can't be any worse then what I had.

    Again, I would have gladly paid a professional plumber up to $1500 to do this job, but unfortunately, no master plumbers work in new jersey. Why work when you can send a high-school dropout to do the job for you and charge the customer hundreds of $$'s an hour? The master plumber doesn't even have to come to the site to inspect the work, and being that no permits are required for replacement in NJ, the high-school dropout is also your final inspector. The system here is beyond broken. Sorry for the rant..

    As far as the check-valve business, yes, if there was a sewer backup, it would wind up coming out of the lowest drain in my house, which would be through the pump vent pipe, and back up into my utility sink drain. But this is what would happen in any system with a sewage backup. The check valve is not going to save you, the sewage would still rise to your lowest drain. Anyway, that is what homeowners insurance is for...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    The answer plain and simple is the pump is an air tight container and in order for any liquid to enter the air needs to leave or it will become airbound and liquid will not enter. An AAV, Shure vent, Studor vent or whatever other name for one you manage to come up with allows only a one way flow with air entering. It will not work properly!

    Even if you manage to find someone that says it's okay it's not and will not work properly!
    Firstly, we are not talking about a "someone" giving me an "okay". The engineers at Studor have concluded that their valve will allow a sealed sewage ejector pump box to work if you follow their design criteria. I am not going to entertain suggestions that Studor is printing lies and disinformation. They are a highly respected manufacturer that very much depends on their engineering team to gain code approvals.. What I am looking for is an explanation of how this design actually works, not whether or not it will work. Studor has obviously decided that it will work, or they wouldn't be printing spec sheets that explicitly state these valves can be used for sewage ejector pumps. Furthermore, I have implemented their design and the box has yet to become air-locked. If the pump should become air-locked, believe me, I will report it here!

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Okay, hook it up however you want and enjoy all the smells and weird drainage that may or may not occur!

    Studor is at best tin house on wheels plumbing, not highly respected!

    My plumbing works at my house and I could care less about yours!

    The advice has ended!
    Last edited by Redwood; 01-05-2009 at 11:43 AM.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for you input. Now for those of you that care to examine new designs before arrogantly dismissing any theory that you do not agree with, have a look at their design manual on page 14, you will see the ejector box vents to the studor AND back into the horizontal waste pipe after a specified distance. Presumably, the "exhaust" aspect of the box is wet-vented, while "intake" is supplied by the one-way valve. Thoughts?

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Okay this I promise is the last advice you'll get from me on the subject. Save your money, the design on page 14 will work equally well or, bad depending on your opinion whether or not a studor vent or, an elbow is used in the location where the studor is shown in their diagram that must be approved by the local authority.

    What they have essentially done is is tied the vent into the drain line the laundry tray pump is pumping to. This vent will not meet the requirement of tieing in 6" above the flood rim of fixtures served by this line. Should this line clog your laundry tray pump will become a sewage recirculation pump until it fails then it will allow the contents of the clogged line to regurgitate up through your sink drain flooding the room.

    Read about it in my new book chapter 11...


  10. #10

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    Thanks for checking it out. Two questions:

    "This vent will not meet the requirement of tieing in 6" above the flood rim of fixtures served by this line."

    My vent is actually tied in about 6 feet above the flood rim of the fixture, and about 6" higher than the horizontal drain line. So I think I meet the requirement, with some room to spare.

    ". Should this line clog your laundry tray pump will become a sewage recirculation pump until it fails then it will allow the contents of the clogged line to regurgitate up through your sink drain flooding the room."

    I don't think so. Take a look at the diagram.. Let's assume the drain line clogs.. The pump discharges the contents of the box until the "loop back vent" fills with waste. The waste will then slide back down into the pump box via the vent pipe. This action will block any incoming or outgoing air from entering the tank. With the vent 100% blocked, the pump will shut off completely. Waste recirculation pump until it burns out? Never gonna happen.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member Master Brian's Avatar
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    Redwood, do you mind clarifying this for me? I am not arguing you on this, just curious as I respect your opinions and I know you have given me some valuable input on other matters.

    You are basically saying if the vent or drain line clogs, the pump will just recycle the contents in that line until the pump wears out, in which case will allow the contents to back up into the fixture?

    Besides wearing out the pump, which wouldn't be good. Wouldn't any clog do the same thing?

    Again, I am curious as well. I had a professional plumber tell me it would be ok to tie my sewage ejector vent into another plumbing fixtures vent, which the manual clearly says not to do. I sometimes think some of the professionals on this site think those of us who are DYI'ers are trying to only cut corners and cheap out. I know in my case that isn't the case, I just don't seem to get reliable advice from the pros in my area and have decided I can at a minimum do the same quality work, so why not save the $$$. That doesn't mean we don't want to do a quality job that will work correctly.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member Master Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak199 View Post
    This action will block any incoming or outgoing air from entering the tank. With the vent 100% blocked, the pump will shut off completely. Waste recirculation pump until it burns out? Never gonna happen.

    Why would the pump shut off? I too would think the pump would run until it eventually burned itself out or someone caught it.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member chris8796's Avatar
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    Here is my 2 cents,

    I'm not a plumber but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

    An important assumption, I get from the diagram;the vent connects to the drain on the horizontal and past the heighest elevation the liquid is pumped.

    I see this as a large loop vent. I can see how it would work. I would also agree that you want part of the loop to go higher than the flood plane of the fixtures served by this line (to prevent the problem Redwood mentioned). Doing all this may be more difficult than just tieing into a standard vent.

    If I was forced at gunpoint to do this, I would upsize the horizonital one size larger than the vertical for the pump drain and tie the loop in the horizontial (past the highest elevation and go above the flood plane for this line). Then the large loop would work without the studor, assuming the downstream drain flowed normally. It's not code, but would work without undue risks. Although it would still probably be easier to tie it into an existing vent than go through all this trouble.

    The key is the loop most attach to a part of the drain that always has air over the waste water, under normal conditions. That air must also be connected to the atmosphere. That's why they want the vent connected to the horizontal and where the water is under gravity flow conditions (past the highest pump elevation). This is also why I would upsize the horizontal, to make sure these conditions are met (assuming the line you were connecting to was equal or bigger than the "larger" horizontal).

    Good luck and try to stick to the code.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Brian View Post
    Why would the pump shut off? I too would think the pump would run until it eventually burned itself out or someone caught it.
    With the vent completely sealed by wastewater backup, the pump box would become air locked (as redwood spoke of earlier), and unable to either suck water in or push water out. I guess technically, the thermal breaker in the pump would trip and shut it off. But such things can happen with any sewage ejector pump with a blockage. In all probability, the vent loopback would probably never fill with water. What would more likely happen is that if the waste line got blocked, the water level in the sink would pour into the pump box, rise to the lid, block off the vent, and then the pump would just stop pumping. I''m sure some water would make it's way up the vent loopback and back down to the box, but I would say the box would get full real quick and that would be the end of any circulation.

    As for the vent situation, Chris you are 100% right. My waste line is hanging from the ceiling of my basement, about 8 feet up. The loopback vent is ABOVE that by about six inches. I had to drill two holes in my joints to get it that high!

    The Studor vent that branches off the vertical vent pipe is EVEN HIGHER than the vent pipe - it's probably about 5 inches above that horizontal loopback vent. The vent is the highest point in the entire system. I did it exactly like the diagram, and like I said, two laundry loads and a dozen sink-full discharges and it's working fine - and WAY faster than the old system!

  15. #15
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Reguardless of what is in the instructions with the AAV it must meet the local code.

    The Mfgs. of AAVs don't write code.

    Find an alternative to doing it wrong.

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